A social application of infographics

Document Type

Journal Article


Australian Graphic Design Association


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communications and Arts




Medley, S. & Kaye, N (2009). Figures: a social application of infographics. Visual: design: scholarship : journal of the Australian Graphic Design Association, 4(1) 78-90. Available here


Figures: The social in the visual is a research project exploring the potential for information graphics to tell news. To date, the research manifests itself in a website (http://figuresmag.com), tertiary level teaching materials, and a printed zine. This article details the principle aspects of our research. Firstly, it states our issues with the status quo of mainstream news imagery and dissemination. Secondly, we discuss our media choices: Why information graphics, and why the Internet? We will explain information design as a graphic form within a contested space: The form itself requires experimentation so that its users, including ourselves, can be more confident about what approaches to information design communicate what messages. This experimentation leads us to the Internet, using the Web 2.0 as a space for efficient and socially focused experimentation. Our research uses a reflexive methodology which sees us as creative practitioners within the space we have set up as well as audience members seeking explanation. We demonstrate how we use the Internet as a reflexive space in developing Figures. Thirdly, we will describe some outcomes of the research so far: Tertiary assignment briefs for design students at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia (ECU); graphics created for Figures have been published in Visual Language for Designers (2009); and, another design school (at the University of Otago, New Zealand) has published information graphics on our site.